Pine Cone Fire Starters

DIY

Cooler weather means cozy fireplaces to brighten and warm winter evenings. Pine cone fire starters get fires going quickly, and also add homey cheer to any living space simply as decoration.

What They Are

It’s your regular, every day pinecone, found lying on lawns all over local neighborhoods, dipped in candle wax. A wick gets the wax burning quickly, which ignites the woody pinecone, and that helps kindling catch fire. Some folks dip the whole cone in the melted wax; others dip them partially.

What you’ll need

For basic supplies grab dry pine cones from your yard or a friend’s, paraffin wax and string. You should be able to obtain these supplies from craft stores, including pinecones if you don’t want to gather your own. The amount of wax you’ll use will depend on your pinecone size and the number of times they’re dipped. Plan to use two pounds of wax for dipping 10, 4” tall whole pinecones 3-4 times. You’ll also need a double boiler—or pan, glass measuring cup large enough so the wax covers the cones to melt the wax (it’s best not to use items you cook with), a stove, aluminum foil to protect counters and tables, wax paper or a rack for dipped cones to cool on and a kitchen knife or scissors.

How They Are Made

The double boiler allows boiled water to gently melt the wax in the second pan, which is your dipping pan. Wind and push string into cones to make a wick, and as a holder to dip cones in the melted wax. After dipping in the melted wax set aside to cool. Dip cones two to four times for sufficient wax coverage and to get the depth of color you want. Before subsequent dippings, trim off the flat base and any irregular wax blobs. You’ll need 15 minutes between dippings for the wax to cool.

What you do from there is up to you.

  • Add color dyes or crayons to the melted wax to produce vibrantly colored cones.
  • Toss glitter onto the cooling wax on the last dip for a little more sparkle.
  • Add essential oils so cones burn with wonderful scents.
  • Coat dipped cones with Epsom salt, table salt, potassium or borax as they cool so flames burn brightly in different colors.
  • Package finished fire starters in interesting containers for gift giving along with a creative label (such as, “You really brighten my life,” or “You warm my heart.”).

Before starting, review different websites for detailed instructions and designs that match your lifestyle. Here are a few to start with:

BirdsAndBlooms.com

DesignSponge.com

Instructables.com

MarthaStewart.com

SomethingTurquoise.com